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Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in Mali

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Voice of America

Katarina Hoije, Jessica Berman

BAMAKO, MALI / WASHINGTON— A clinical trial of a promising Ebola vaccine has gotten underway in the west African country of Mali, which borders Guinea, the epicenter of the deadly viral epidemic that now has killed 4,000 people.

This phase of testing of the experimental vaccine against Ebola began this week in Mali when it was given to three health workers who volunteered. The health workers would be the first to fight the disease if it broke out in Bamako.

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Mali + 12 others
African Union Launches Regional Initiative to Stabilize Sahel

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Voice of America

Peter Clottey March 06, 2014

An African Union official says the organization’s Mission to Mali and the Sahel (MISAHEL) has launched a cooperation initiative with countries in the Sahel to combat terrorism as part of efforts to stabilize the region.

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Farmer Training Aims to Reduce Pesticide Use in Mali

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Voice of America

Jennifer Lazuta

DAKAR, SENEGAL — The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says schools in Mali have been training cotton farmers about how to use natural substances in order to reduce the use of dangerous pesticides by 92 percent, while maintaining normal crop yields. The natural pesticides also may save money.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization found that the introduction of new pest-control methods to cotton growers in Mali “nearly eliminated” the use of toxic pesticides.

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Burkina Faso + 1 other
From Burkina Faso, displaced Malians eye reconciliation

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Voice of America

SAG-NIONIOGO CAMP, BURKINA FASO — As hundreds of thousands of displaced Malians begin returning to their homes in the north, post-conflict ethnic reconciliation remains a key challenge for officials in Bamako.

But at the Sag-Nioniogo refugee camp in central Burkina Faso, where an ethnic patchwork of uprooted northern Malians have found ways to get past the tensions and live in harmony, divisions over the question of an independent northern Mali persist.

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Mali + 8 others
UN: New Strategies Needed to Cope With Crises in Sahel

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Voice of America

The U.N. Security Council has asked the world body to draw up a plan that examines the humanitarian, political, security and developmental issues affecting the region.

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Death toll from Mali boat accident rises to 72

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Voice of America

Authorities in Mali say the death toll from a boat accident near the town of Konna last week has more than tripled to 72.

Security Minister Sada Samake says rescuers found were able to refloat the boat and when they did, they found more bodies inside.

During a Friday news conference, government officials said more than 200 people survived the accident.

Investigators say the boat was overloaded with passengers and cargo when it broke apart and sank on the Niger River.

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In Mali, Communities Grapple With Post-Traumatic Stress

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Voice of America

Ivan Broadhead

July 27, 2013

BAMAKO — Almost a million Malians remain displaced after ethnic and jihadist violence spread across the north following last year’s coup d’état.

Despite fresh memories of conflict and atrocity, some of those displaced are seeking to return to their hometowns to vote in Sunday’s presidential election.

In a country that was home to only six psychiatrists before the war, aid agencies are seeking to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress, particularly among vulnerable children.

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Mali Candidates Pledge Reconciliation

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Voice of America

Anne Look

BAMAKO — Malians rank peace and stability as top priorities for the country's next president. They go to the polls Sunday amid tensions in the far northern town of Kidal. It has been occupied by the Tuareg separatist group, the MNLA, since a French-led military intervention against jihadist groups in northern Mali began in January.

What to do about Kidal?

Mali's 27 presidential candidates have tried to strike a delicate balance, pledging to get tough on the country's vast security challenges while fostering reconciliation.

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Mali + 1 other
Nigeria Seeks $25M for Mali Elections

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Voice of America

Heather Murdock July 17, 2013

ABUJA, NIGERIA — West African leaders have called for $25 million in international aid to help secure the upcoming elections in Mali. As Guinea-Bissau also prepares for elections, leaders want an end to international sanctions on that country.

Heads of state from the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, are meeting this week in the Nigerian capital ahead of elections in Mali and Guinea-Bissau, two countries in turmoil.

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Niger + 7 others
West Africa Bracing for Harsh Rainy Season

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Voice of America

DAKAR, SENEGAL — As the rainy season begins in West and Central Africa, meteorological experts are warning of above average rainfall, flash floods and overflowing rivers in the western Sahel. Aid agencies say that early preparation is key to reducing the risks associated with such natural disasters, as well as building up people’s resilience to deal with the aftermath.

Experts from the African Center of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD) say that rainfall in West and Central Africa could exceed 130 percent of normal precipitation this year.

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ECOWAS Mission Assesses Mali Situation Before Vote

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Voice of America

Peter Clottey
Last updated on: June 12, 2013 7:06 PM

A team of officials from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is in Mali to assess the security and political situation in the approach to the country’s July 28 presidential election.

Sonny Ugoh, the ECOWAS communications director, said the fact finding mission is part of the regional bloc’s plans to restore constitutional rule in Mali and maintain its territorial integrity.

“This is consistent with the requirement of our protocol on democracy and good governance…,” Ugoh said.

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Niger + 2 others
Niger offers reward to help eradicate Guinea worm

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Voice of America

NIAMEY — Niger is offering cash rewards to anyone reporting a case of Guinea worm as part of efforts to permanently eradicate the parasitic disease in the impoverished West African nation, the health ministry said.

Though it once afflicted around 3.5 million people annually across Asia and Africa, according to the U.S.-based Carter Center, Guinea worm disease is now on the verge of being eradicated worldwide.

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Malian Women Displaced by Conflict Endure Hardship

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Voice of America

Kim Lewis

Last updated on: March 19, 2013 10:16 AM

The ongoing conflict in Mali has led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. The toll can be devastating as families are uprooted and forced to live in circumstances that they are not used to.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, IDMC, found for women and girls, it is especially traumatic. On top of the harsh rules they are now living under in a new location, there are countless reports of sexual violence, even forced marriages of very young girls to their assailants.

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Egypt + 4 others
Libyan Arms Stockpiles in Egypt Causing Concern

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Voice of America

Jamie Dettmer
March 05, 2013

TRIPOLI, LIBYA — Since Moammar Gadhafi was ousted as Libya’s leader over a year ago, Egyptian officials have been intercepting large caches of weapons smuggled from Libya destined for black-market transfer to Syria and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

But in recent weeks the pattern of the arms shipments has shifted, according to officials, and fundamentalist Muslim groups in Egypt, known as Salafis, also are receiving the weapons.

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Mali + 3 others
UNICEF Seeks $45 Million for Mali Crisis

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Voice of America

Lisa Schlein

February 26, 2013

GENEVA — The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is appealing for $45 million to meet the emergency needs of women and children affected by the Malian crisis for the next three months. UNICEF says it has received little money so far to help a quarter-million people displaced inside Mali, as well as an estimated 170,000 refugees who have fled to neighboring Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

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Mali + 1 other
Aid organizations struggle to get help to Mali

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Voice of America

Nancy Palus February 18, 2013

As soldiers in Mali continue working to root out armed militants, aid organizations are navigating rivers and mined roads to bring relief to communities affected by the fighting. Some 36,000 people have fled their homes since fighting began in January, but families who stayed also need help.

Aid agencies say families in northern Mali are running dangerously low on food.

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Looters Go on Rampage in Timbuktu

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Voice of America

Residents of the newly liberated Malian city of Timbuktu looted stores owned by Arabs and Tuaregs suspected of collaborating with Islamist militants who fled earlier this week.

Witnesses say Malian soldiers stood by while people stole almost everything they could lift up and carry. The occupiers had imposed strict Islamic law in the city, including a dress code and a ban on music.

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Calm Restored After Rebels Flee Malian Towns

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Voice of America

A reporter on the ground in northern Mali says most Islamist militants have fled the city of Gao since last week, when French warplanes bombed their positions.

The VOA reporter in Gao said Tuesday that some militants have been spotted in the area - driving in trucks or riding motorbikes or hiding out in trees. But he adds it is clear the Islamists are not numerous or organized enough to continue applying the strict Sharia law they imposed after taking control of the city last April.

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Mali Security Measures Hinder Humanitarian Access to Civilians

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Voice of America

Bombing and heavy gunfire kept the residents captive under shaking houses. Military blocked people from fleeing the towns.

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Malian schools in capital close amid tensions

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Voice of America

DAKAR — The Malian government has ordered all schools shut down in the capital and a nearby garrison town following demonstrations in the two cities. Some 800 kilometers south of the front line where the army is fighting to hold back Islamic militants, people are increasingly frustrated with a worsening economic situation and what many call government inaction.

All schools, from kindergarten to university, are closed until further notice in the Malian capital Bamako and the nearby garrison town of Kati about 15 kilometers away.